Dalton City Council to hear preliminary results of study on new tax incentives

The Dalton City Council could expand tax incentives for developers to build or refurbish buildings in certain parts of the city.

Council members are scheduled to hear preliminary findings from Atlanta's Bleakly Advisory Group about the possibility of creating two tax allocation districts (TADs) on West Walnut Avenue and the north Dalton bypass when they meet on Monday at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall. A work session is at 5:15 p.m.

In September, council members approved a $21,000 contract with Bleakly to study those areas.

Dalton voters in 2014 gave the City Council the authority to create TADs, which are based on the idea that development in an area will increase property values. In effect, the taxes a local government can collect for general purposes inside a TAD are frozen at what the property was worth when it was created. Taxes collected on additional value are dedicated to pay for infrastructure, land, buildings, public artwork or other amenities to attract a developer or developers to that area. That “extra” money does not go into general revenue.

In 2015, the council created two TADs, one covering the downtown business district and the other at the Dalton Mall and the area closely surrounding it.

Council members are working on a master plan for West Walnut Avenue and said a TAD could help finance any changes the plan calls for.

Council members are also scheduled to vote on approving issuing $100 million in bonds for Dalton Utilities to upgrade its electrical assets.

The board of the utility in 2019 approved a resolution supporting the concept of a bond issue. Officials have said that none of the money would go to new spending on the two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, a nuclear facility near Waynesboro in eastern Georgia along the Savannah River, that are years behind schedule. Dalton Utilities has a 1.6% stake in the plant.

In August, Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a bill that allows Dalton Utilities to borrow money for electrical assets without holding a public referendum. The utility already had the ability to borrow for natural gas, wastewater and water without a referendum.

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